Thursday, March 4, 2010

Winter Blahs and Employee Morale

Last week we had a nice break in what is traditionally the bleakest point in our all too long Michigan winters. Our break included two days of nice sunshine and above freezing temperatures. During this sunny stretch, I managed to get my car washed and drove around with my radio up and windows down so I could enjoy the “balmy” 37 degree weather.

While I’m lucky enough to be out traveling during the course of the day, most people are working inside when the sun is shining. How can we, as managers, spread some sunshine to our employees during this period of dreary weather and sputtering economy?

Most of us get the winter blues around this time of the year. Knowing that, it should not have been a surprise on Tuesday when I showed up for a meeting at one of my favorite clients and found the HR staff, in full Mardi Gras regalia, passing out King Cake to their employees. They even had a purple top hat and beads for me, so I was able to join in the festivities.

Why not make the effort to spread a little sunshine and boost the morale of your employees, too? St. Patrick’s Day is only 2 weeks away, or you could create your own holiday to celebrate. The point is, spread some cheer, have some fun, and try to keep the productivity levels up. It’s one of the best things that you can do for your company and your employees.

Think about the Mardi Gras celebration. How much did that activity cost them? While I didn’t ask the price, I’m thinking that at one piece of cake per employee, the cost was minimal. Lost time? None, the cake was passed out during break in the cafeteria. To steal a line from the Visa commercials: Value to employee morale? Priceless.

Not interested in providing food? Look at your business results. There must be something positive. Find it, highlight it, celebrate it, and watch what happens. You might just be surprised. In the meantime, let’s all keep hoping for an early spring this year.

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